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The Flexibility Continuum

Sep 1, 2016

Flexibility, like any other form of training, should follow a systematic progression. There are three phases of flexibility training: corrective, active, and functional.

  1. Corrective Flexibility

Designed to help to improve muscle imbalances and altered joint motion. It includes self-myofascial release (foam roll) techniques and static stretching. This form of flexibility is appropriate for beginners or clients who compensate and have muscle imbalances. This is revealed when performing your overhead squat assessment on your client. Hold each stretch for 20 - 30 seconds.

  1. Active Flexibility

Designed to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency by using reciprocal inhibition. This style of flexibility allows for agonists and synergist muscles to move a limb through a full range of motion while the functional antagonists are being stretched. For example, a supine straight-leg raise uses the hip flexor and quadriceps to raise the leg and hold it unsupported while the antagonist hamstring group is stretched. Active flexibility uses self-myofascial release and active-isolated stretching techniques. This form of flexibility would be appropriate for strength training clients. Hold each stretch for 1 - 2 seconds for 5 - 10 repetitions.

  1. Functional Flexibility

Integrated, multiplanar soft tissue extensibility with optimum neuromuscular control through the full range of motion. It is movement without compensations. Therefore, if a client is compensating during training then he or she needs to be regressed to corrective and active flexibility. Functional flexibility uses self-myofascial release techniques and dynamic flexibility. This form of flexibility would be appropriate for athletes. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise.

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